"Are You A Desk Jockey" (Blog #131)
Do you know the number one reason why people miss work? No! It's not diabetes, it's not heart disease, and it's not the common cold! Its Low Back Pain! Low back pain can be crippling, whether it's herniations or over-active muscles, back pain sucks. And science has shown us that sitting for long bouts of time will give it to us. Not only will sitting at desks for prolonged periods of time give you back pain, but it can be responsible for your shoulder pain and hamstring tightness. The body is totally connected, literally. Did you know that your Left Lat muscle (big back muscle) is connected to your Right Toe?!
It's not only back pain that can be a real problem, but any joint pain for that matter. The shoulders are another area that many people have problems with. The shoulder "socket" isn't a socket at all, vision more of a basketball and a dinner plate. It's not like the hip joint where the ball is actually in the socket, which makes it much less stable and more prone to injury. Sitting too long will damage your joints, it will limit range of motions, which will then cause atrophy (muscle shrinkage / weakening) and pain is not far behind.
Pictured above on the left is what someone at a computer (or desk) does for many hours of their day. This posture will shorten (tighten) up the anterior muscles of the upper body (the Pecs and Anterior Delts), and lengthen (and Weaken) the posterior muscles of the upper back (lats, trap, rhomboids, etc). The same problem will happen after years of staring at your I-phones!
This is the main issue for most peoples joint issues. Obviously you aren't going to quit your job and avoid sitting at all costs, but what we can have you do is to make sure you get up and walk around for five minutes every hour. Some high level coaches are actually coming our with an app right now that will alert "desk jockeys" to get up and move/stretch for five minutes every hour while they're at work.
If you're suffering from shoulder pain and can't lift your arm above your head pain free, it's vital that you fix the issues at hand before that annoying pain becomes a full blown tear. Below are a few videos that will help you fix your aches and pains, and they can also PREVENT them from happening if you don't have pain yet.
In most cases the sight of pain is NOT the problem. Remember that the body is fully connected and a tight thoracic spine may be the problem with your shoulder. (See the vid above) Or unstable shoulder blades may be the culprit. This is the reason I am so anal when I push a proper warm up: Golf Balling your feet to releases tight fascia, foam rolling your Glutes, Lats, Calves and Quads to increase blood flow and decrease the risk of injury, and a little movement prep to ensure that your CNS (central nervous system) is ready to take on the demands that you're about to throw at it. Don't sit around for fifteen minutes and jump into Pull Ups, or your healthy gym days will be limited.
Warm Up Better! Warm Up with a Purpose!
Another huge problem in the fitness world is "ITIS". Any "Itis" is overuse, period! Repetition will breakdown tissue, tendon and ligament strength overtime. Hence why guys who Benched the same weight, reps and sets for fifteen years can't lift their arms up past ninety degrees; or why so many long distant runners are having joint replacements so often. It's the high numbers of repetitions that will ultimately lead to breakdown.
We should use as few reps and exercises as we can do get you the desired result (strength / fat loss / etc). The body only gets but so many reps before it will bite you back. The chart below changed the way I trained after I really studied it: To avoid boring you, I'll make this quick. Notice the Pink circled joints are supposed to be Mobile Joints, and the Yellow circled Joints are supposed to be Stable. This is what your body SHOULD be doing, but in many of us it's the opposite.
A client with a tight ankle will lose range of motion in that joint rendering it more stable, so the next joint up will try and compensate for that lack of mobility and try to help out. This means your stable knee joint will start to become mobile. This over time will create meniscus tears, ACL tears and pain. So your "knee" pain probably has nothing to do with your knee...It's your ankle! (just an example) And you shoulder pain probably has nothing to do with your shoulder, when in reality it may be a scapulae problem...
Improve the way you warm up
Lift Weights to make your body more resilient (Bullet Proof)
Train to get Stronger (the rest will fall into place)
Focus on Quality reps at all costs
If something Hurts, don't do it
Don't Ego Lift
Training should improve the quality of your life, not hurt it